Frontier Raid fought

Rob Dean

As mentioned in the teaser shot yesterday, we set up and fought a battle using our developmental old school fantasy rules yesterday. Ross has posted the most recent version of the test rules. For the purposes of yesterday’s test, we tried using personalities. Basically, they stayed attached to units. If two units with attached personalities were in melee, the personalities could fight. Personalities did not generally affect the unit level combat except by spells, or if they were a mid-sized monster like the wyvern, which gave a unit an extra die in combat. What they did have were skills/attributes, which modified how the units worked. This didn’t turn out to have quite the flavor we were looking for, so revision 2 will make them more powerful/important.

Here are the orders of battle, with the numbers being, in order, combat strenght front/flank, armor roll, hits per stand, and movement in increments. For personalities, they just have a single Combat rating, used against other personalities. Each magician had a list of spells, each of which took the whole turn to cast and was then used up. We ended up using two inch increments, but the plan is to make movement sticks with the increments equal to the base width.

Empire of the Great City and Allies

1xGeneral Constantius and bodyguards 5/3, A:2, H:4, M:5
3xArmored Cavalry 5/3, A:3, H:4, M:5
1xArmored Cavalry Archers 4/3, A:3, H:4, M:5
1xAllied Horse 5/3, A:2, H:4, M:5
4xSpearmen (City and allied) 3/3, A:2, H:4, M:3
1xFoot Guards 4/2, A:2, H:4, M:3 (Reduces armor by 1)
4xSkirmishers 2/1, A:0, H:2, M:4
2xFrontier Guards (Archers) 3/1, A:0, H:4, M:3
1xTreemen 4/4, A:4, H:4, M:3

Cyrus Ironhoof, Inspirational C:3, A:3, H:2, M:6
Elar Autumnleaf, Cunning C:2, A:1, H:2, M:5
Aralon Longspear, Prepared C:2, A:0, H:2, M:4
Earaina, Magician C:2, A:3, H:1, M:4
Spells: Restore, Restore, Ward, Ward, Hurry

Orcs and Allies

1xWarlord Snarg and Bodyguards 4/2, A:3, H:4, M:3
4xShock Orcs 4/2, A:2, H:4, M:3
2xOrc Archers 3/2, A:1, H:4, M:3
3xGreater Goblins 3/2, A:1, H:4, M:3
6xLesser Goblins 3/2, A:0, H:4, M:4
3xWargs and Riders 4/2, A:1, H:4, M:6
2xLizard rider archers 3/2, A:1, H:4, M:6
1xGremlins (flying) 3/2, A:0, H:4, M:6
1*xWater Demon 4/4, A:3, H:6, M:3

Wraith of Khan, Inspirational C:2, A:3, H:1, M:4
Gorlak the Assassin, Stealthy C:3, A:0, H:2, M:4
Wyvern, Monstrous C:4, A:1, H:2, M:6 (flying)
Raffem and Tiny, Magician C:2, A:2, H:2, M:4
Spells: Frenzy, Frenzy, Restore, Summon

The personality skills were used as follows:

Inspirational: Add a movement increment to the unit when attached
Stealthy: Can move through enemy units and opponent can’t refuse a fight
Monstrous: Big enough to add a die to unit combat
Cunning: Add 1 to the unit’s attack factor
Prepared: Add 1 to the unit’s armor rating.

The spells:

Frenzy: Add 1 to the unit’s attack factor for 1d3 full turns
Restore: Recover lost hits for roll of 1-4, 4 dice worth
Ward: Add 1 to the unit’s armor rating for 1d3 turns
Hurry: Double a unit’s speed for 1d3 turns
Summon: Cause the Water Demon to appear in the river

Above is a shot of the board again. The Imperial forces had three garrisoned locations, two walled hamlets and the watch tower. The Orcs, approaching from the left (north), were attempting to seize those strongpoints, before they reached break point of 2/3rds of their army out of action. (So 7 units remaining was below strength). The orcish units were individually not as good as the Imperials, but there were more of them, and the Imperials had a 50% break point (9 units).

My son William was recruited to play the orc general, and Ross commanded the Imperials, with me acting as the mostly impartial referee and as Ross’s hands and eyes. I recently broke my tablet stand, so Ross was forced to put up with a somewhat unsteady handheld view, and I got my exercise panning and zooming by hand.

William’s plan was to use his mounted and fast forces on his left to grab the tower quickly, and to bore up the middle with the great mass of greenskin infantry to take the first hamlet. Ross is represented in the shot above by the iPad propped up with a Magic card box. The tower garrison inflicted a few hits on the approaching wolves and lizard riders.

On the orcish right, allied elves and treemen left the woods to assist the hamlet.

As the battle developed on the orcish left flank, the first assault wave rolled up to the hamlet in the center. The frontier guard archers had given a good account of themselves, shooting down a probing attack by the flying gremlins and wyvern, but orcish numbers began to wear them down. General Constantius threw a company of regular spearmen into the hamlet to assist the hard-pressed frontier guard, and a long, grinding melee ensued.

The surviving lesser goblins eventually withdrew from the fight, and were replaced by the heavy shock orcs, encouraged by a frenzy spell. Imperial luck finally ran out, and the regulars were ground down and eliminated.

On the orcish left, the coup de main against the tower was unsuccessful, and the survivors of the fast troops were all driven off. Snarg threw his last reserve, the greater goblins and orc archers, into the fray on his left, hoping to salvage the situation.

Constantius, sensing that the orcs were wavering, impetuosly charged the advancing reserves, hoping to tip the balance and drive the entire army from the field.

Unfortunately for him, the orcish archers were far tougher than he imagined, and he fell to a goblin sword as reinforcements entered the fray. The goblins threw themselves on the remaining cavalry, and Cyrus Ironhoof, the centaur hero, as senior officer on the imperial side, sounded the retreat.

Just as the battle was concluding, Earaina was confronted and slain by the assassin Gorlak, so it was a grim day for the Imperials.

Overall, it took us about three hours to fight this out, including a certain amount of telecommunication friction time and rules discussions. Heroes/personalities will probably have a more significant effect on the game in the next playtest, and, as far as scenario specifics went, Ross noted that it would have made sense to have the objectives count against the Imperial break point. William’s commander morale almost broke at one point, as he had little luck in attacking the town, but Ross’s early amazing die rolls eventually averaged out. The 40 stands we had on the table were about a third of my current fantasy total, and about half the total of the pre-1980 vintage figures (although the orcs are not part of the pre-1980 collection), so scaling up to scenarios for 6×10 convention games next year shouldn’t be a problem.

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